Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Wednesday that he believes there’s no “objective evidence” that African-American voters are being disenfranchised at the polls, Louisville, Ky.’s WFPL reported.
“The interesting thing about voting patterns now is in this last election African-Americans voted at a higher percentage than whites in almost every one of the states that were under the special provisions of the federal government,” Paul said at the Louisville Forum, as quoted by WFPL. “So really, I don’t think there is objective evidence that we’re precluding African-Americans from voting any longer.”
The Supreme Court ruled in June to strike down a central provision of the Voting Rights Act setting a formula that identified which states with a history of racial discrimination needed to pre-clear changes to voting laws with the federal government. States like North Carolina have since moved forward with new voter ID legislation.
The Kentucky senator said comparing new voter ID legislation to Civil-Rights-era Jim Crow laws was doing a disservice to icons of the Civil Rights movement, according to WFPL.
“I don’t see a problem with showing your driver’s license to vote,” Paul said, as quoted by WFPL. “I also think that some people are a little bit stuck in the past when they want to compare this. There was a time in the South when African-Americans were absolutely prohibited from voting by selective applications of bizarre and absurd literacy tests. And that was an abomination, that’s why we needed the Voting Rights Act, but that’s not showing your ID.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.